From Outcast To Indie Singer-Songwriter: The Albino Musician Discovering His Place In The Local Music Scene

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In the vibrant and diverse music landscape of Malaysia, where melodies mingle with cultural tapestries, a remarkable artist is defying expectations and capturing hearts. Meet Syakir, a gifted singer and guitarist whose journey from outcast to icon has been nothing short of extraordinary. As an individual with albinism, Syakir has faced unique challenges that have shaped his music, his identity, and his unwavering determination.

Syakir says that music has always been his solace, a refuge from a world that often fails to understand his emotions. Shy and reserved, he sought a safe haven in the strings of his guitar, which he first picked up during his high school years. It was through music that he discovered a profound way to communicate and express himself, transcending the barriers that held him captive in his own thoughts and insecurities.

Syakir’s spirit was drawn to the appeal of the Blues genre due to its unvarnished intensity and compelling guitar solos. It was a genre that resonated with him, encapsulating the breadth of his emotions and enabling him to convey them candidly, much like the handful of Blues guitarists who he regarded as his heroes. Syakir’s musical preferences grew to include metal, rock, and even rap, yet the Blues continued to have significant influence on him.

Let’s digress for a moment to witness how Syakir’s oozing passion translates into his performance today:


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A post shared by syakir (@syakirmusic)

Syakir notes that he stumbled upon his toughest obstacle during his undergraduate years, when he first nosedived into the indie music scene and came across struggles closely linked to his albinism. In addition to his pale complexion, which was an apparent symptom, he suffered from blurred vision as well as general poor eyesight. His hopes of driving were shattered, as the road before him became an indiscernible blur.

The lack of mobility imposed by his visual impairment posed an ongoing struggle, albeit one mitigated by the advent of e-hailing services… As well as his great sense of humour, as he commonly refers to himself as someone with “poor eyesight, but decent ears”.

However, his condition exerted consequences that went beyond what was physically feasible. Syakir desired to be recognised for his abilities, his drive, and his inner being rather than just his physical attributes. This had an impact on his mental health, eroding his self-esteem and instilling sentiments of inadequacy. His route to self-doubt was paved with unhealthy comparisons to others as a way to gauge his personal value.

When he started experimenting with singing, he faced new difficulties in the music industry, where his main roles were those of a guitarist and songwriter. Syakir surmounted his shyness and concerns and embraced the field of singing, but he was still plagued by the fear of singing out of tune and drawing derision.

Ultimately, it was the consistent support from his friends that helped Syakir emerge from the depths of uncertainty and self-doubt with comfort and strength. They served as the impetus for his growth as a person as well as an artist.

Encouraging constructive criticism became their language, pushing him to break free from the confines of playing other artists’ songs and instead embrace his own creative voice.

But Syakir didn’t have the confidence to pen his own Blues tune until 2019, when he finally released Snapfingers, which became a turning point in his artistic liberation. He discovered the potency of self-expression in the nurturing environment his friends had provided, transcending his reservations and allowing his true abilities to blossom.

Listen to it here:


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A post shared by syakir (@syakirmusic)

Beyond the creative realm, Syakir’s friends proved to be a pillar of support in navigating the challenges posed by his visual impairment. Attending his gigs, they willingly offered him rides home, alleviating his concerns of burdening others.

Their presence in his life helped manage his struggle substantially, and the proximity of their residences lessened any guilt he might have harboured. Syakir learned to welcome every opportunity that came his way while upholding these steadfast connections.

Here are a few more wholesome photos for good measure:

While their support alone could not completely silence Syakir’s negative “mind voice”, he believes that having people believe in him in that manner had affirmed his capabilities and prompted him to take the first steps towards exploring his individuality – which he reveres as the benchmark to his success and overcoming his battle against the odds of albinism.

He now thrives as a versatile musician, taking the stage as the primary vocalist for his own band, Syakir & The Rombongan, in addition to playing bass in alternative rock band Hey Jay!, and displaying his guitar prowess in new wave-influenced Azlan Rami Quartet. His creative endeavours don’t stop there, either. Syakir also explores other artistic endeavours, honing his craft and pushing the boundaries of his own potential.

By composing music that is uniquely his own, Syakir uncovers the best version of himself, embracing his uniqueness, and forging a path that is unique to him.

Music acts as the connective thread, not only binding him to his friends but also fostering a sense of closeness and understanding despite the relatively short duration of their acquaintance. It is through music that Syakir finds kindred spirits, individuals who share his passion and journey, providing him with a profound sense of belonging.

Syakir firmly believes that music possesses the transformative power to bring people together. He has witnessed firsthand how the harmonies and melodies can bridge gaps, dissolve barriers, and create a sense of unity. In the realm of music, he found a refuge where he could authentically connect with others, transcending differences and celebrating the diversity of human experiences.

All in all, in a world that often imposes standards and moulds to fit in, Syakir realised that the first and most vital step towards gaining acceptance from others was to embrace himself fully. With unwavering courage, he cast aside the shackles of self-doubt and societal expectations, daring to stand tall in his own skin.

Through the melodies he crafted, the lyrics he penned, and the strings he strummed, Syakir has found comfort in the act of self-expression. His music is a resounding declaration of his uniqueness, a testament to the support and motivation provided by his close friends.

May Syakir continue to stand tall, transcending physical limitations and societal judgments, while igniting the flames of self-love and acceptance in all who tune in to his story!

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